The Invisible Fence
Nowadays, rural developments are emerging across the country. These developments are sometimes governed by home-owners’ associations. At times, these types of groups will insist on a ban of regular fencing because they feel it will compromise the overall aesthetic beauty of the development. Many owners, depending on the dog breed
they own, require some type of containment for the safety of their dog, as well as other inhabitants of the community. For this reason, many pet owners opt for the installation of an invisible fence. The system consists of underground wiring, which carries a current to a compatible dog collar
. When the dog begins approaching a location that is too close to the perimeter, the collar will issue a warning frequency that is audible to the dog. This is meant to act as a warning. Once the dog continues beyond the perimeter, which is designated by buried wires, a shock will be emitted.
Property owners should consider some details before installing this type of containment system. First you must consider the dog; some dogs that have an excessive or long coat may need to have an area shaved so that the electric current can be in contact with the skin, otherwise the shock may be ineffective. The administered current may also be less effective on dog breeds that have loose folds of skin under the chin (called dewlaps); this is because the area may have fewer nerve cells. There are also some dogs with such a high threshold for pain, that they may ignore the shock and will be completely unaffected by the fence. This often occurs when the object on the other side of the boundary motivates the dog more than the shock deters them. The dog must be trained to respect the boundaries.
The age at which the dog is introduced to the fence is also important. Animal behaviorists state that puppies display a definite “fear stage” which will emerge during certain periods. It has been researched and documented that for most puppies, this occurs around the eighth week and again around the eighth month of their lives. When the puppy is introduced to the fencing area, the owner needs to be aware of the puppy’s fear and whether or not the dog is psychologically ready to experience the shock. If the puppy is in one of the fear stages, or is of a breed that is naturally timid, the fence can be more damaging than effective. This traumatic experience can deter the dog from going into the yard at all. When the electric collar is on the puppy, owners should be present to watch for adverse reactions and to step in with positive reinforcement when the dog stops before approaching the boundary.
A clear drawback to the fence is that it is only effective on the animal wearing the collar. Property owners with these types of fences often overlook the fact that their yards have no protection against possible predators or other dangers that can cross freely onto the property. This may leave your dog at a risk of possible harm.
In any case, people who are using invisible fences for the containment of their dog need to realize that using such a fence requires some attentiveness and caution, as well as moderate boundary training of the dog, or it may not serve its purpose.